About the Film
WOMEN IN BLUE is an intimate look at the Minneapolis Police Department in the years leading up to the murder of George Floyd in 2020. In 2017, Chief Janeé Harteau—the MPD’s first female chief—is struggling to reform the predominantly white male police force. She fights the police union to get rid of bad cops, works to diversify the force in both race and gender, and promotes women into every rank of leadership.
The film follows Harteau and four women officers as they try to move the MPD toward more ethical and humane policing. At the center is Officer Alice White, one of only six Black women on the force, who joined the MPD to be the kind of cop she wished she’d met growing up in Minneapolis. Harteau makes her a trainer in a new cutting-edge “procedural justice” training, teaching fellow cops to treat all citizens with fairness and respect.
Harteau’s empowered women officers are making gradual inroads in a hidebound culture, but after a high-profile, officer-involved shooting, Chief Harteau is forced to resign. The new male chief selects only men as his top brass, passing over higher-ranking women. While they continue their fight for better policing, these women have now been largely sidelined.
WOMEN IN BLUE offers an unprecedented view into the inner workings of the MPD, chronicling a department and a community grappling with racism and police misconduct long before the murder of George Floyd. The film reveals the limitations of police reform through incremental change and asks a critical question that applies well beyond Minneapolis: Could increasing gender equity and hiring more women officers—especially Black women officers—contribute to greater public safety?